How to Apply Your Skincare Products the Right Way

How to Apply Your Skincare Products the Right Way

by Cori Van Pernis
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Have you ever thought about the order you are applying your skincare products? Maybe not. The truth is the order you apply your products can change the effectiveness and even change the results you experience. Here is a trusty guide you can follow to ensure proper application!

Remove Makeup

First and always first you want to remove your makeup. I prefer the oil cleansing method to remove my makeup and follow by a gentle cleanser for my skin type. This is called the “double cleanse method”. There are many cleansers that claim to do it all when it comes to your skin such as reduce breakouts, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, oh and don’t forget it also removes makeup! I am not a fan of these claims because how can a cleanser do this effectively all in one fell swoop? It can not possibly remove all the debris from the day especially when there is a layer of makeup as well. So I find using the double cleansing method is the best way to remove makeup and cleanse the skin. Once to remove makeup and debris, and twice to cleanse the skin.


Exfoliation is a necessary step in your regimen and should be done only 1-3 times a week depending on your skin type. You want to ensure you are cleansing the skin before doing this so you can get the purest skin possible. This will make the next steps in your routine even more effective. You can exfoliate with a sonic cleansing brush, or chemical exfoliator such as an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) or Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) to eat away at dead skin cells. You could even make things easier and include an exfoliating serum into your nighttime routine, This would be an exception in the order you apply your product since this is a serum and not a physical exfoliator. If you go with an exfoliating serum, it should be applied with other serums after your toner. Tricky isn’t it? It’s not too bad as long as you always remember to apply your products thinnest to thickest and then it all makes sense right?!

Apply Toner

This is a very significant step that most people leave out or think is an unnecessary step in their routine. Toner is so important because it not only removes any leftover residue from a cleanser but it also balances the skin’s PH level so it can function properly.

When the skins PH is unbalanced, the skin can react in several ways and lead to irritation and breakouts.

You want to apply your toner as soon as you dry off your face, no longer than one minute after because after one minute your skin is already drying out. Look for a toner that balances the skin and it suitable for your skin type. Dry skin types should consider a hydrating toner or one that refreshes the skin. Oily skin types should seek for a toner that tightens pores, mattifies and controls oil while balancing the skin. If it is burning your skin don’t use it! This is not good and does not mean it is working any better! It could be too harsh on your skin and this does more harm than good. This should be a gentle step in your routine.


Serums are the ultimate workhorse of your regimen and this is the one item I always advise to invest in if you are not into spending your entire paycheck on your skincare products. A quality serum can change the way your skin behaves while giving you those benefits you are looking for such as reduced pore size, plump skin, and reduce signs of aging. They consist of concentrated “active” ingredients in one single drop making them the best thing that ever happened to your skin. The molecule size of serums are also smaller than creams which makes them able to penetrate faster and deeper into the skin than heavy creams. When it comes to layering serums, which is always a great idea for a night time routine, you want to always apply thinner to thicker. Remember this and you will always know how to apply your products in the correct order. I do not recommend using more than two serums in a single routine. This means during the day, you can use up to two serums and the same goes for night time.

Eye Cream

Eye cream is one thing everyone should use in their early ages before it's too late.

Skincare is all about prevention and maintenance.

I started using eye cream when I was 16! Some might feel that's too early but I always heard the eyes show signs of age first and I was not about to let that happen! I believe it’s never too early to start. The skin around your eyes is paper thin which is why dark circles appear and fine lines and wrinkles creep up before you know it. Apply this after your serums and use your ring finger when applying as this is the lightest finger and we want to be gentle in this area. I like to use a tapping motion after I apply it to bring blood flow and increase circulation around the eyes. Plus it feels so nice. Once you are in your mid 20s, I would say investing in an eye cream that includes retinol or light exfoliator is a must! Most people don't exfoliate around the eyes but I think an eye cream that exfoliates is gold. It creates a glow around your eyes and keeps those fine lines at bay.


Applying moisturizer last will lock in those active ingredients you applied beforehand and also add ultimate hydration.

Everyone needs to use a moisturizer even if they are oily.

Dry skin types should look for heavier creams and oily skin types should aim for a lighter version such as a gel-cream or oil free moisturizer to balance oil production. When you have oily skin and continue to deprive the skin of hydration it will produce more oily to compensate for the dehydration. So be sure to go for an oil free moisturizer and give that skin what it wants! Hydration!

Facial Oils

Facial oils are excellent. When I was younger, this would not be something I would have never touched since I had oily, acne prone skin! Now, in my mid 20s, facial oils are my best friend. I like to apply these the most over my eye cream to beat dehydration. Facial oils should never be applied under moisturizers or before serums as they have a thicker molecule size. If you were to apply this under your creams and serums, the creams and serums would never make it further than the surface of the skin! Applying oils the wrong way and it's like throwing money right out of the window. Be sure to apply a light layer last over your moisturizer at night and this will make sure nothing under it can evaporate and will lock in those ingredients you applied beforehand, Cool, huh? You really shouldn't apply a facial oil with sunscreen as these oils can actually break down the sun protection, so keep this as part of your night routine.

Sun Protection

You need to always be sure you apply sun protection every day rain or shine.

Did you know 80% of skin aging is from the sun?!

That is just madness! This is to be applied in your day time regimen every day as the last step in your routine. SPF is your protective shield and should be applied over your moisturizer. If you have a separate daytime moisturizer that already includes an SPF then good for you! That's one last thing you have to worry about.

Having so many products and that do so many things can confuse everyone. I hope this cleared up confusion on your skincare application and as always thanks for reading!